New Technique to Assist in the Better Understanding of Effects of Nicotine on Brains

A team of researchers have come up with a new technique that would help in the better understanding of the effects of nicotine on human brain. In this study that was published on Nature Methods, the scientists have elaborated on the invention of a novel light-activated nicotine compound, which will enable the scientists to study much better the receptors that play a crucial role in addiction of nicotine.

Study Explores Ways that Were not Possible Previously

Ryan M. Drenan, PhD, associate professor of Pharmacology and co-corresponding author, said that the researchers are now capable of studying the neurotransmitter receptor for nicotine in ways that were not possible previously.

Researchers who are interested in studying nicotine dependence or acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that normally link to ‘nicotine receptors, now have an excellent device in hand that, when correctly used, might allow the scientists to discover the very fundamental principles of transmission of cholinergic.

Matthew C. Arvin, PharmD, a graduate student in Drenan’s laboratory, is also a co-first author of the said research that was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus.

Photoactivatable versions of drugs that can be made active by brief flashes of light are a significant device that is used fro the purpose of pharmacological research so as to model drug behavior and study processes in cells. Until very recently, scientists, however, did not have the ability to develop compounds for many of the drugs, comprising a class with a so-called “tertiary nitrogen,” which makes an inclusion of nicotine.

Professor Drenan opined that stated that the probe has been used to disclose new details about how chronic nicotine exposure makes changes in the location and activity of these said receptors, thereby paving way for a brand new approach for the purpose of studying dependence on nicotine.

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